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Race Report: Echo Half Marathon 2017

I ran the 4th annual Echo Half Marathon in Volusia County back in June. The point-to-point course takes runners from Beck Ranch Park in Osteen along multi-use trails back to Gemini Springs in DeBary. The race benefits Friends of Volusia County Trails, Inc..

Training & Goals
As I usually do in preparation for a half marathon, I followed a program designed to finish healthy that was not focused on speed or any time goals. I gradually increased my weekly long run leading up to the race, finishing with a relatively easy week prior to race day. Because of the heat and humidity expected for this June race I had absolutely no time goals and only hoped to finish "in the upright position" as they say. In general my midterm running goals are to keep fit, have fun, and not burn out.

Race Day: June 4, 2017
Arthur drove me to the starting line at Beck Ranch Park. The race provides a shuttle at the end to return runners to their cars parked at the start, but since I live about a mile from the finish line I would be walking home. There were apparently some issues with the shuttles last year but after this year's race I didn't hear any complaints.

It was 72F° at the start, overcast and a bit foggy with 100% humidity.

Mile 1, 2, 3: 10:45, 10:50, 11:19
These miles took us up the multi-use trail along 415 out of Beck Ranch Park. Mile 3 concluded shortly after crossing a pedestrian bridge over 415, the only "hill" of note on this mostly flat route.

Mile 4, 5, 6: 11:19, 11:05, 11:22
The crowd thinned out a bit for me here, a long stretch on the East Regional Rail Trail. My running club, WVR, had a water stop around the Mile 4 marker. They had written club member names on the path -- hey, there's my name!

Mile 7, 8, 9: 11:35, 11:54, 11:50
We continued along the East Regional Rail Trail until about Mile 9, when we took a detour through Green Springs Park and ran along Lake Monroe on Enterprise-Osteen Road. We joined the path, now a spur between the Rail Trail and the Spring-to-spring Trail, again shortly after a sharp turn at the end of Mile 9.

Mile 10, 11, 12: 12:02, 12:15, 12:26
While much of the course is on shaded roads under oak canopy, these miles at the end are a hot slog in the blazing sun. Water stops here were staffed by kids with water pistols to cool us off and even offered special treats like cold chunks of liquor-soaked watermelon. Somewhere along the way I also grabbed a Twizzler.

Mile 13+: 13:48, 1:53
I was completely soaked. My Sparkle Skirt (Enchanted Green to match my WVR shirt) was dripping with sweat. I had kept a lousy pace and still didn't have anything left at the end. Then a club member saw me about 800 feet from the finish line and ran me in. He stayed an arm's length in front of me and I struggled to keep up for a "strong" finish. Thank you, Joe!

Arthur was at the finish and grabbed some photos of me crossing the line.

We lingered around for a while, watching runners finishing the race while I drank some more water and then a complementary beer. Then we walked home to prepare for a fun afternoon at Disney.

Recommendation
I enjoyed the race despite the heat, humidity, and sun. The route would be awesome as a winter race. Support was great, too. I like this race because it supports the trails with both publicity and funds. I am not sure how much money from the runners goes towards the trail system and I would like to know more about it before running this race again. I wasn't happy with the racerback shirt female runners got but no t-shirt exchange was available race morning, which was disappointing.

Chip time: 2:34:20
Placement details: 18 out of 42 in Age Group, 298th overall out of 479 finishers
Race Amenities: Swag included a drawstring backpack, tech racerback tank, nice medal
Cost:
$38.60 (early bird price including $3.60 processing fee)

Report written July 5, 2017
Photo of chalk names (c) Cindy Durney
Labelled race photo (c) Almost There Photography

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